Paws for a Cause

Each year we choose a worthy organization to support with our school-wide Paws for a Cause donation. Today we had a special Community of Caring assembly to kick off our collection for Rett Syndrome. We have a wonderful third grader named Kendra at our school who has this syndrome. (She was in my second grade class last year!) IMG_3413

We had the assembly and Kendra rode her bike on the stage and then “spoke” to the gathered audience with her assistive technology device. I am attaching a link with the short video that the students saw to help you understand the condition. (Kendra is eating the ice cream!)

A flyer went home today with the children and we will be collecting monetary donations tomorrow and Monday. If you are making out a check, please make it out to the Brookside PTO. Please consider donating to this worthy cause that will help toward finding a cure for girls like our schoolmate Kendra.

We also wore purple today in honor of girls who have Rett Syndrome and those who are searching for a cure. If your child forgot to wear purple today, we will continue to encourage Brookside students and staff to wear purple on our collection days tomorrow and Monday!

Tasting Day and a Virtual Trip to Plimoth Plantation!

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The students didn’t need any coaxing to try new foods!

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Victoria sampling some of the donated treats.

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Nick and Elizabeth try to decide where to start.

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So many delicious choices! How do you decide what to eat? Try a little bit of everything!

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A close up of some Canadian French and Puerto Rican delicacies!

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Our second graders got to experience a wide variety of ethnic foods.

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I think I’ll have some more since it was so yummy!

On the half day before Thanksgiving, we had a “Tasting Day” celebration in the cafeteria as part of our Traditions and Customs Language Arts and Social Studies unit. Our C8 families donated a wonderful selection of food that reflected the heritage of our students. We had food from Canada, Ireland, England, Sweden, Kenya, Puerto Rico, India, and many more countries. The students loved the delicious food and many went back for seconds! A HUGE thank you to all the families that provide the food that made it a rich experience for all our students. I truly appreciate the time and effort involved, especially at a busy holiday time. Thanks also go out to Mrs. Ware and Mrs. Joyce for volunteering to help out at the tasting day. Thanks go out as well to Mrs. Mullins, our art teacher and Mrs. Morning, our Title I teacher who also pitched in to help set up. You all helped make the event special for the children and made my job so much easier! P.S. Special thanks to Mr. Kelleher who made a special trip to deliver the food that accidentally made the trip to his workplace instead. Way to go above and beyond, Dad!! What a special day and a special way to start the Thanksgiving break with our second grade friends!

Before and after our Tasting Day celebration, our children watched a Virtual Field Trip to the Mayflower and Plimoth Plantation on the Scholastic Website. They got to see inside the ship that the Pilgrims used to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and learn about their voyage. Then they saw Plimoth Plantation and saw inside several buildings there. They learned about how the Pilgrims lived on a daily basis. After that, they “visited” a Wampanoag settlement and saw how the Native Americans lived. Finally they listened to an “interview” of  Pilgrims and Native Americans at Plimoth Plantation who described what the first Thanksgiving feast was actually like. I hope watching this amazing resource helped to put the holiday into perspective for them. 

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The children were really engaged in this “virtual field trip!”

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The students are now excited to visit Plimoth Plantation for real. This is often a Brookside third grade field trip so they may get the chance to go next year.

 

 

 

Measuring a Brachiosaurus at Brookside! Part 2

Finally our Brachiosaurus was completely colored in and we decided to find out how our dinosaur compared to second graders!

DSC_0749We found out that our dinosaur was over 10 second graders tall!

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Then we measured how wide the brachiosaurus was and we discovered that it was more that 15 second graders long!

But we weren’t finished yet! We finished by finding out how many second graders it took to outline the entire perimeter of the dinosaur.

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It took a while to get our second graders in place around the perimeter.

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We started placing students around the front of the brachiosaurus.

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As you can see, we almost ran out of second graders!

DSC_0769 DSC_0770One  last look at our dinosaur friend before he became extinct with Saturday’s rain! In the end, it was a really enjoyable way to spend a beautiful autumn day learning together as an entire grade.

 

 

Thank you again to all the volunteers for making this hands-on learning project a reality. We couldn’t do it it without you!!

Measuring a Brachiosaurus at Brookside! Part 1

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Here is a photo of the grid used to create our Brachiosaurus.

It all started with a plan that the Brookside second grade teachers had to show the students just how ENORMOUS a dinosaur actually was.

Then our wonderful parent volunteers cheerfully helped mark out the grid lines on the parking lot and then drew the outline of the dinosaur.

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Many hands needed to create a dinosaur!

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We need lots of straight lines first.

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Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers, especially our C8 mothers, Mrs. Joyce, Mrs. Sirois and Mrs. Ware!

Then it was time to start coloring in the brachiosaurus with colored chalk. It sure takes a lot of second graders to color a huge dinosaur!

DSC_0746Here are some photos of the C8 students working side by side on a beautiful autumn day.

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Special Visitor Today!!

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Today we had a special visitor, Kate Ahern, who is an adaptive technology consultant who works with our classmate Kendra. She spoke to the class explaining Rett Syndrome to the children. The children learned that it is something that some girls are born with. They learned that it comes from genes and it is not something that you can “catch”.  They discussed possible rules for helping Kendra to be successful at school and how to be a good friend to her.  They learned that it is important to give her space and how to watch her eyes and her body language to figure out what she may want. They learned that they need to be patient and give her time to respond.

They learned that the same rules apply that they would any other student at school. There is no need to talk to her any differently than they would to another classmate. Even though Kendra can’t speak, she can understand and she can get her feelings hurt just like any other second grader. They promised to help her and to help other students at school to learn how to help her too.

Then Kate showed the children Kendra’s “talker” which is the specialized computer that helps her to communicate with her eyes. She asked the children if they would help Kendra learn to use her new program on her computer by being “aided language input helpers”.  We will be having one child a day spending some time using the computer with Kendra. The children thought it was a great idea.

Finally, Kate informed us that girls with Rett Syndrome can get sick easier than other children and it takes them a lot longer to recover from illness so it is very important for the children to be careful about being sick around her.  She then asked the children if they had questions. They certainly did and Kate stayed and answered every single one of their questions. We were very lucky to learn more about Kendra and Rett Syndrome from Kate today. Thank you Kate!

Lots of Learning to Share ~ Part 2

We have been finishing up our Habitats Science & Language Arts Unit by sharing our Arctic and Antarctica Animal Projects. We are learning a lot by sharing these wonderful projects with our classmates. Some children made posters. Others made dioramas. We even had two crossword puzzles and one written report. All of the children really worked hard and the projects look amazing! We hope to have them all shared and sent home by Friday. Here is a photo of all the projects but I will be posting all the individual projects on our new student work page. Please check them out!IMG_1591

The start of the Winter Olympics coincides with the start of our Geography Unit in social studies/language arts. The students are learning about the 7 continents and the 5 oceans. I showed the children a neat website where they could see a globe turn into a map and back again. You can also tilt the globe to look at it at different angles. The children asked me to give you the link so they can share it with you at home. The link is:

http://www.digital-week.info/education/mapping_our_world/mapping_our_world/05-GlobeUnwrapped/GlobeUnwrapped.htm

Today we had a shared geography hands-on activity with Mrs. Saucier’s class. The children were paired up with a child from the other class and they were assigned a country that is involved in the Winter Olympics. They received a blank country worksheet and a outline of that country’s flag. The children had to work together to use beginner atlases to research important information about that country and record that information. Then they had to color the flag in the authentic colors of that country’s flag. As you can see by the photos, the students were very engaged in this activity and it was a nice change to work with students from another classroom. We will be adding this work to an Olympic display that is being constructed on the hallway wall with the World Map. I’ll post a photo when they are all hung up.

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Sal and his partner get comfortable on the rug.

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Hailey and Jordan discuss what they are learning.

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Garrett and Gavin researching with their atlas.

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All the students worked very hard the entire time!

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Gabe and his new friend writing down the facts.

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Fatima and her partner worked well together.

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Jayden and his partner working very hard too!

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Amelia and Maggie locate their country on a map in the atlas.

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Jacob, Thomas and Kendra work on a team of three.

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Katie and her partner point to details they notice in their atlas.

Finally, we have some exciting news to share. Our classmate Kendra was recently recognized with a special honor. She was one of eight Brookside students who were chosen to participate in our PAWS recognition breakfast. To get this honor, students need to be recognized for going “above and beyond”.  She was nominated because of how well she has adapted and adjusted to her new school experience at Brookside. Kendra received her certificate from our principal, Ms. Smith. She was congratulated by the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Stone and school committee members, Dr. McNamara and  Mrs. Murphy. We are all very proud of our friend, Kendra!

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Kendra’s mother escorts Kendra to receive her award while our special guests look on!

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Miss Jen and I are so proud of Kendra!

 

Progress Reports and a New Friend

UnknownToday the students received their first progress report for second grade. The students are still getting used to the new challenges and expectations for this grade. If your child received a grade on the progress report that is lower than you expected, please know that there is still plenty of time to improve that grade before the report card. There should also be a green slip of paper inside it explaining that we did not grade the students in science as they have not had their science test on the dinosaur and fossils unit yet.  They will have a science grade on their report card. Please sign and return this progress report as soon as you can.

We also learned today that we will have a new friend named Kendra joining our class for specials. Kendra is already a special friend of one of our classmates. A letter went home to all the C-8 families introducing Kendra and explaining the Rett Syndrome disorder that she has had since birth. I read the letter to the students and they are very excited to have her join them for specials. We can’t wait to meet her! Please read the letter that came home with your child today.

Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day in second grade. We will be having a visit from the Fossil Lady! Stay tuned for more on this in another post!